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Old October 22, 1999, 02:32 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: August 26, 1999
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 145
I'm just beginning to look into a semi-auto rifle for home defense use and fun target shooting. I'm interested in rifles such as the AR-15 and similar guns from say, HK and Sig, or any other recommended manufacturers. $800 - 1500 is probably my price range at the moment.

What would be your recommendations? I know that I'm not providing much info, but I don't know much about these particular rifles yet. I need a good starting point.

I already have two 40 cal. handguns and a 12 ga. Mossberg 590 shotgun, so I'm well covered in these areas.

Thanks for any help
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Old October 22, 1999, 08:25 PM   #2
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Join Date: February 7, 1999
Location: TN. USA
Posts: 607
I can't say that one is better than the other, but I would go for AR series. My main reason is that more information is available for you to learn from. I'ts been our service rifle now for a number of years which means you have a wealth of personal experience to draw on. Good luck what ever your choice, and good shooting.
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Old October 22, 1999, 08:37 PM   #3
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 19,401
Asking price for an HK in any caliber starts around $1800 and metal magazines aren't cheap either. Sig 550s cost even more and their magazines are even scarcer.

Given the funds, you could go for either a FN-FAL type firearm (7.62 mm Nato). High capacity magazines are still affordable (about $10 each). Just be mindful whether they're metric or inch. The FN-FAL remains one of the most ergonomic rifles and during its heydey, was adopted by over 50 nations. Go to the FN-FAL website to learn more.

If you want AR, Colt's are excellant quality, have a strong following, name recognition, but dubious politics (see our Legal Forum) with regards to supporting the Second Amendment. Bushmaster is also held in high regards, but ever since they've been on overload (5k units a month to meet skyrocketing demands), complaints are cropping up on the bulletin board ( ). One thing about BM, it has received good reviews from J. Feamster and Zediker, both of whom reports that BM is liked by custom makers because their jigs (drilling and milling fixtures) produce are right. BM Customer Services generally rights wrongs so I wouldn't worry too much about a problem. I bought a lower and have converted it for a southpaw gun (Norgon ambidextrious magazine release and DPMS ambi-safety).
I myself have had good luck with DPMS (they made my southpaw upper).

There is one basic weakness of the AR design: aluminum magazine with weak feed lips. They're easily dented so be mindful when handling them. Other than that, they're reliable, fun and a blast to shoot.

Magazines on ARs aren't cheap and we're talking about $18-20 for a aluminum 20 rounder (they use to be $2 each before the hi-cap ban).

Last but not least are the AKs. Robust, reliable, absorbs lotsa punhishment. Can't recommend any particular brand but when shopping for 30 round mags, try to get the ones with a rib running down the backside. They're stronger. One thing about AKs though, I don't think they're very accurate when compared to an AR or FN.

One final consideration: ammo. All three guns are different calibers. Pick one which you can buy lotsa surplus ammo at an affordable price. Gives you more to practice with that way.

Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt

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Old October 22, 1999, 11:55 PM   #4
Join Date: January 16, 1999
Posts: 17
I have a BM ar15 and have enjoyed firing it at the rifle range. I recently purchased a HiPoint P995 9mm carbine. Some people on this site would say this gun is a 'Saturday Night Special' because of the price but I believe it is one of the most accurate guns I have ever fired. It was almost $500 cheaper than my ar15. If you want to plink then this gun is great at $150. Why put over $500 into something you may not like? If my life was at risk and I could have only one gun then the AR15 would be my choice(maybe).
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Old October 26, 1999, 12:46 AM   #5
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Join Date: April 22, 1999
Location: Chandler, Arizona, USA
Posts: 6,014
The Ruger Mini-14 sells for between 375-500$ depending on the model and the retailer. It doesn't have the "assault rifle" stigma that the AR15 rifles do. Even in states that have "assault weapon" bans that disallow the AR, the Mini-14 is still allowed. Something to consider anyway.

May your lead always hit center mass and your brass always land in your range bag.

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Old November 3, 1999, 04:44 AM   #6
Join Date: October 25, 1999
Location: Cebu City, Philippines
Posts: 59
Get the AR-15. Get a Redi-Mag. Get a titanium firing pin. Get an Aimpoint sight.
Get extra 20 and 30rd. magazines. Get good Federal ammunition. Get a sling. Get a cleaning kit. That's it. Get it?
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Old November 3, 1999, 07:55 PM   #7
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,193
I have been brutally flamed for saying this, but I will say it again. Unless you live in an isolated area or are expecting mass attacks, a rifle is not very suitable for home defense. Shooting one at your local friendly burglar and killing neighbors half a mile away (or your child in the next room)is not socially acceptable, even if you do nail the thief.

Even a powerful pistol may be overkill, but a shotgun with a hunting load is not only adequate but much better to be holding when the fuzz show up. "I grabbed my hunting shotgun" sounds better than "I grabbed my M16 with the 75 round drum and the laser sight and fired a dozen bursts".

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Old November 4, 1999, 05:21 PM   #8
Vampire Gerbil
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Join Date: November 4, 1999
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 8
Don't forget the Springfield Armory M1A.
It's a semi auto M14. Twenty Round (aftermarket) .308 magazines, accurate, etc.

I live in the worst possible state in the US (NJ) and they're even available here! (no bayonet lug, sorry. that would make the weapon really dangerous!!)

By the way, this is my first post here, so HIYA EVERYONE!!!!!

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Old November 6, 1999, 08:00 AM   #9
Join Date: November 3, 1999
Location: u.s.
Posts: 45
Yeah Vamp,people are mugged all of the time with fixed bayonets.

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Old November 15, 1999, 07:45 PM   #10
Join Date: September 14, 1999
Posts: 39
I've often wondered just how many drive by bayonetings there have been?Any stats?
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